The National – Monday, January 31, 2011
CRACKS are starting to appear in the government-backed sports for development initiative, the PNGNRL Bid, with the latest news that the bid’s strategic advisor Paul Broughton had resigned back in December.
In an email sent to the chairman of the PNGNRL board, Sports Minister Philemon Embel, but acquired by an Australian media contact and circulated to PNG media, Broughton said he could not continue as a member of the NRL bid team because of a “debilitating” leg injury sustained last June had made travel and work difficult.
“As a result of a debilitating leg injury which I sustained in June meant I was no longer able to travel and whilst I continued to contribute by way of written submissions and liaison with all the Leagues, NRL, ARL and the Australian Development programmes, I felt that my contribution was not to the extent that it could have been if I was able to travel and meet with those people on the ground in PNG,” Broughton said.
“Certainly the establishment of a consultancy group of indigenous Papua New Guineans to take control of the future direction and growth in the development game to all of PNG was a giant step forward for the game of rugby league in maintaining its dominance in this country.”
But apart from health reasons, the former St George player (1954) revealed elsewhere in the letter that there were other administrative reasons and creative differences which caused his resignation.
“It is fair to say that I have disagreed with the bid board’s change in focus away from development strategies to branding strategies around the bid campaign, which greatly influenced my decision to resign, however I wish the board the best of luck in the future,” he said.
“The game of rugby league in PNG, more than any country in the world, belongs to the people who play the game ,and those who give every week of their time with a passion, plus the wonderful fans and sponsors who have been so supportive of the game,” he said.
In thanking the PNG government Broughton said he would still be patron of the Pacific Island Rugby League where he was confident his experience would be useful in developing the regional cause.
This latest set back paints a worrying picture for the bid which seems to have gone down a different path then what was previously announced in 2009.
Presumably, with little activity in the Christmas period and with Embel’s own leg injury side-lining him for an extended period the announcement of this news may have been held off until a suitable replacement could be found.